The Family Photograph
In the window of the drawing-room there is a rush of white as you pass in which the figure of your husband is, for a moment, framed. He is watching you. His father will come, of course, and, although you had not planned it, his beard will offset your lace dress, and always it will seem that you were friends. All morning, you had prepared the house and now you have stepped out to make sure that everything is in its proper place: the railings whitened, fresh gravel on the avenue, the glasshouse crystal when you stand in the courtyard expecting the carriage to arrive at any moment. You are pleased with the day, all month it has been warm. They say it will be one of the hottest summers the world has ever known. Today, your son is one year old. Later, you will try to recall how he felt in your arms— the weight of him, the way he turned to you from sleep, the exact moment when you knew he would cry and the photograph be lost. But it is not lost. You stand, a well-appointed group with an air of being pleasantly surprised. You will come to love this photograph and will remember how, when he had finished, you invited the photographer inside and how, in celebration of the day, you drank a toast to him, and summer-time.
From Flight and Earlier Poems by Vona Groarke. Copyright © 2004 by Vona Groarke. Reprinted by permission of Wake Forest University Press. All rights reserved.
Vona Groarke is an Irish poet and the author of X (The Gallery Press, 2014), Spindrift (Wake Forest University Press, 2010), and Juniper Street (Wake Forest University Press, 2006). Her awards include the Brendan Behan Memorial Prize, the Hennessy Award, the Michael Hartnett Award, and the Strokestown International Poetry Award. She teaches at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester in England.
Date Published: 2004-06-16
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/family-photograph